Day One: May 25

Today, we started on an epic journey – traveling Route 66 from Oklahoma to the Grand Canyon. This trip is special in a number of ways.

First, there is the size and nature of our traveling party. Nine of us are traveling in two vans. We are making the quintessential family road trip. Our group is as follows: Kimberly (wife), Jonathan (son), Grandma (mom), Lanette (sister), Hugh (brother-in-law), Lauren (niece), Mitchell (nephew) and Ethan (nephew). Our ages range from 8-66. Before long our summer visits will be different as the kids continue to grow. In just a few years, Lauren will be headed to college.

The second unique aspect of the trip is the road we are traveling – Route 66. Okay, we are taking I-40 much of the way, but we do plan to drive Route 66 through the towns and in other selected locations. This road opened up a way to the west and helped solidify the automobile culture in America. Through the years the road carved out its place in American culture with odd and interesting roadside attractions. As we make our way across the Southwest, we’ll try to stop at as many tacky tourist traps as possible … In Search of Americana … and those collectible smashed pennies.

The road’s place in the history of the Dust Bowl also makes the journey special. As an Oklahoman, the road takes on extra significance. The 1930s brought economic challenges to the United States. Things got worse for Oklahoma when drought and poor land management led to dust storms and wide-spread crop loss. Thousands of Oklahomans piled into decrepit trucks and cars with their families to seek work in California. Their plight was immortalized in John Steinbeck’s epic novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” We are tracing the journey of the “Okies” during a current time of economic challenge. Just for fun I have my copy of “The Grapes of Wrath” and Steinbeck road trip book “Travels with Charlie: In Search of America.” Maybe I’ll read a few pages along the way.

The beauty of God’s creation will also make this a fun and unique experience. “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature.” Romans 1:20. We expect to see some of God’s unique handiwork on the way – mesas, canyons and deserts.

I will attempt to post information about our trip each day on Facebook Notes and on I’ll add lists of our stops and keep you posted on how many smashed pennies we have managed to collect along the way.

Today’s Tally
3 smashed pennies collected

Major stops
– National Route 66 Museum/Old Town Museum – Elk City, Okla.
Great museum. The group rate was only $3 each.
– Conoco Station in Shamrock, Texas
Model for Ramone’s in Cars the movie. Great building.
– The Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas
Good steak, fun limo ride, great experience.
– Over night in a KOA “kabin”

We knocked a mug off a shelf at the Big Texan gift shop. It shattered, cut Jonathan’s leg and we still had to pay 1/2 the price of the mug.

Another Big Texan funny — Jonathan was playing a gallery shooting game in the arcade. At a certain point, a large swamp monster jumped out. Tears were shed.

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